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Remploy: Annual Performance Agreement

Baroness Gale asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment and Equal Opportunities has written to the Chairman of Remploy approving the 2000-01 Annual Performance Agreement between the Department and the Company. This agreement covers the year from 1 April 2000. It has been negotiated by the Chief Executive of the Employment Service on behalf of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment. The targets are:

The average number of disabled people employed by Remploy Ltd will be 10,400;

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The average number of disabled people employed under the interwork scheme will be 4,400;

The average number of progressions will increase to 700;

Remploy Ltd will maintain a total unit cost target (operating deficit per disabled worker) of £9,600.

The text of the Annual Performance Agreement has been placed in the Library.

Traveller Children: Education

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the level of expenditure from central Government funds for the education of traveller children; and how the funds are allocated and spent.[HL3709]

Baroness Blackstone : Funding to meet the additional costs for the education of traveller children is provided through the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Grant, part of the Department's Standards Fund, the main financial resource for the delivery of national education priorities.

In the current financial year 2000-2001, the expenditure specifically related to the education of traveller children is £15.7 million. In 1999-2000 it was £13.7 million. Allocations were made on applications received from local education authorities. Ninety-three local education authorities receive funding to support 17,000 traveller children in 3,400 schools.

The grant supports the provision of peripatetic teachers; specialist education welfare officers; pupil transport costs and uniform grants and support for distance learning.

Corporal Punishment in Independent Schools

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the use of corporal punishment in independent schools is banned under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.[HL3710]

Baroness Blackstone: From September 1999, Section 131 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 outlawed corporal punishment for all pupils in maintained and independent schools, and for children receiving nursery education.

In no circumstances, under English law, is it therefore legal for independent schools to use corporal punishment, even where parents have given their consent.

Royal Ulster Constabulary: Widows' Pensions

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What would be the total cost of bringing the pensions and compensations paid to the families of

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    those Royal Ulster Constabulary members murdered before the increase in pension and compensation in 1982 up to the same level as the pensions and compensation paid to those whose husbands were murdered after the change of calculation, taking account of inflation; and how many families are involved.[HL3135]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): Examination of such records as are readily available indicates that there may be in the region of 150 widows who were widowed prior to the changes being made with effect from 1982.

The Government are sympathetic to the situation of such widows if they are now experiencing financial difficulties. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has appointed John Steele, a recently retired senior civil servant in the Northern Ireland Office, to conduct a review of the purpose and scope of the new Police Fund recommended in the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland. The Patten Commission specifically recommended that the fund should provide financial assistance for police widows and could supplement the income of those on very low pensions. The review being conducted by John Steele will address this issue.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the average pensions currently being paid to Royal Ulster Constabulary widows of officers killed before November 1982; and what is the average pension of the widows of those killed after that date. [HL3598]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The average of pensions currently being paid to widows, widowed before and after 1982, is calculated at £532.87 and £854.72 per month respectively.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations they have received against Royal Ulster Constabulary widows of officers killed before November 1982 receiving enhanced pensions at the level of those widowed after that date. [HL3597]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: There have been no representations received against widows of RUC officers killed before November 1982 receiving enhanced pensions at the level of those widowed after that date.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why those widows of Royal Ulster Constabulary officers killed before November 1982 will not have their pensions upgraded to the enhanced level of those widowed after that date. [HL3599]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The pensions of widows of RUC officers murdered before and after November 1982 are paid in accordance with the Regulations in force at the time of the deaths. The Government is taking forward, however, the recommendation in the

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Patten Report that a substantial fund should be set up to help injured police officers, injured retired officers and their families, as well as police widows' (Recommendation 87). Patten specifically mentions that the fund could be used to supplement the income of those on very low incomes.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that paying Royal Ulster Constabulary widows a pension of less than £150 per month is in keeping with the spirit sought in the Belfast Agreement; and [HL3600]

    Whether they consider that having a two-tier system of pension provision for Royal Ulster Constabulary widows is in keeping with the Belfast Agreement's call for parity of esteem. [HL3636]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The pensions paid to some early RUC widows was commented upon in the report by the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, set up under the provisions of the Belfast Agreement. The Commission's proposal to set up a fund to address, inter alia, their low pension position has been accepted by Her Majesty's Government and plans for it are being made at the moment.

Murders of Royal Ulster Constabulary Officers

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people have been convicted of involvement in the 302 murders of Royal Ulster Constabulary officers since 1969; how many cases this figure represents; how many of those convicted are currently still imprisoned; and how many were released under the recent early release scheme. [HL3601]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The information requested on the number of persons convicted of involvement in the murders of the 302 RUC officers since 1969 and the number of cases this represents is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Of those convicted, a total of six prisoners have been released under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 with a further seven prisoners due to be released on 28 July 2000.

Northern Ireland: Bail Offences

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many times bail conditions have been broken in Northern Ireland in each of the last ten years; and [HL3308]

    How many people have been charged with offences while on bail from a court in Northern Ireland during each of the last ten years. [HL3309]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The information requested is not avialable. Statistics on the breaching

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of bail conditions and on persons charged with offences while on bail are not routinely collected in Northern Ireland.

United Kingdom Bicentenary

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made with plans to mark the bicentenary in 2001 of the creation of the United Kingdom; and what is their response to proposals already submitted. [HL3419]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Government's position remains that there are no plans for official government-organised events, but that we will consider specific proposals to mark the anniversary and whether it would be appropriate to support these in any way. Bodies such as the British Council and the British-Irish Association have already been involved in marking the anniversary through support for conferences.

Northern Ireland: Training Schools

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many boys and girls were resident in each of the Training Schools in Northern Ireland at the most recent date.[HL3289]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Training Schools were renamed Juvenile Justice Centres with effect from 31 January 1999. The population in each of the centres at 26 July 2000 was as follows:

Juvenile Justice CentreTotals
Lisnevin (male)25
St Patrick's (male)3
Rathgael (male)1
Rathgael (female)5
Totals34


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